Phenomenological definition of God


Phenomenological definition of God

The philosopher Michel Henry defines God in a phenomenological point of view. He says: "God is Life, he is the essence of Life, or, if we prefer, the essence of Life is God. Saying this we already know what is God, we know it not by the effect of a learning or of some knowledge, we don’t know it by the thought, on the background of the truth of the world ; we know it and we can know it only in and by the Life itself. We can know it only in God." ("I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity").

This Life is not biological life defined by objective and exterior properties, nor an abstract and empty philosophical concept, but the absolute phenomenological life, a radically immanent life which possesses in it the power of showing itself in itself without distance, a life which reveals permanently itself. A manifestation of oneself and a self-revelation which doesn’t consist in the fact of seeing outside of oneself or of perceiving the exterior world, but in the fact of feeling and of feeling oneself, of experiencing in oneself its own inner and affective reality.

As Michel Henry says also in this same book, "God is that pure Revelation that reveals nothing other than itself. God reveals Himself. The Revelation of God is his self-revelation". God is in himself revelation, he is the primordial Revelation that tears everything from nothingness, a revelation which is the pathetic self-revelation and the absolute self-enjoyment of Life. As John says, God is love, because Life loves itself in an infinite and eternal love.

Michel Henry opposes to the notion of creation, which is the creation of the world, the notion of generation of Life. The creation of the world consists in the opening of this exteriority horizon where every thing becomes visible. Whereas Life never stops to generate itself and to generate all the livings in its radical immanence, in its absolute phenomenological interiority that is without gap nor distance.

As we are living and by consequence generated continually by the infinite Life of God, as he never stops to give us life, and as we never cease of being born into the eternal present of life by the action in us of this absolute Life, God is for Christianity our Father and we are its beloved Sons, the Sons of the living God. This doesn’t only mean that he has created us at the time of our conception or at the beginning of the world, but that he never stops to generate us permanently into Life, that he is always at work in us in the least of our subjective impressions.

See also

*God
*Names of God
*Conceptions of God
*Existence of God


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